Travel Wish List For 2018

As a person who is a total Winter-phobe at the best of times, I find myself spending a lot of January and February Summer dreaming. Once Christmas is done and a distant memory (even through it’s not even been a week since we went back to work and school) I find that my mind turns to brighter and warmer days, that my heart is no longer trying to keep warm as I work on the sofa, but is, instead, lying on a beach somewhere, dreaming of a meal of fresh shrimps and a Mojito. I’m guessing I’m not the only one guilty of doing this.

Destination2.co.uk have been asking people which destinations are on their bucket or wish list for 2018. These can be long haul, dream destinations – money is no object holidays. But they can also be places you would just love to visit with your partner or your family. I have been thinking about where I would love to visit in 2018 and have come up with three destinations that I think would be perfect.

Penang

I last visited Malaysia in 1999, which I was shocked to realise is now almost 20 years ago. One of the places I visited, albeit briefly, was Penang, and it is safe to say it made a really great and lasting impression on me. It was a taste of the authentic Malaysia, full of intoxicating scents and smells, rides in rickshaws to take in all the views. We went to see an enormous reclining Buddha, which was just the most incredible sight, and were taken to feed monkeys (which was probably a bit irresponsible, but was still something I will never forget.) Penang was a stunning experience and I didn’t spend nearly enough time there. If I could visit again, possibly as part of a two centre stay with Kuala Lumpar, I would love to get to know it better.

Kuala Lumpar

Kuala Lumpar is another Malaysian city, this time the capital, that I visited in 1999 and would love to go back to. It is very different from Penang in that it is almost futuristic in it’s style and architecture, with the towering Petronas Towers and the KL towers literally towering above the city. I loved the shopping experience which ranged from fabulous designer pieces to equally fabulous locally produced products like batik prints and handmade suits and dresses.

The one thing I clearly remember about Kuala Lumpar is that you had to be very careful when trying to cross the road, there were carefully built subways in the sky that you needed to use rather than actually crossing. KL is fantastic and fabulous, and I really would love to go back there.

Majorca

Majorca is another favourite destination, somewhere I have visited on numerous occasions, but I have never taken Joe there. We were looking through old photographs of previous holidays to Majorca, and Joe was really taken with it and said he would love to visit, and I suddenly thought – why not? A short UK flight, hot sunny days, and everything from water parks and perfect sandy beaches, to lots of culture and shopping, particularly in the capital Palma, Majorca is looking like a place I need to revisit.

Where are you planning to go in 2018?

My Perfect Winter Escape

Winter, and the cold, dismal weather than comes with it, can often leave us longing for a break somewhere new. A change of scenery, a change of weather even, can be the plan for making Winter seem less brutal, and for shortening the days until we wait for Spring. But even though Midwinter is often described as bleak, and the need for some sun may feel strong, this can be wishing away a whole season, one which can actually be breathtaking in its beauty.

Luxury bedding and textile brand Julian Charles are getting us to think about what could be our ideal Winter break, one which includes embracing the cold, crisp weather rather than trying to hibernate away from it. They have compiled an ebook looking at the best Winter escape destinations, from spending time enjoying the incredible Greenland landscapes in an Igloo. to experiencing the wilds of Mongolia in a Yurt. They have also included the traditional Winter Wonderland landscapes of Norway and Switzerland with their chocolate box houses and snow globe scenes. They are getting people to share their thoughts on Winter getaways on social media with the hashtag #EscapeForWinter.

If I was to chose my own Winter escape then I think I would opt for Switzerland. I once traveled through the Swiss Alps by coach, and was just smitten by the beauty of the landscape, with wooden chalets dotted through the snow capped mountains. I think a wooden chalet is just the ultimate in terms of a cosy getaway home, and with the addition of lots of faux fur throws and cushions, and a roaring fire, it could be a place where you could well and truly hibernate away from the snow and ice.

I would add pine scented candles to create soft lighting, and brushed cotton bedding that would ensure you felt warm and snug when you went to bed. Curtains would need to be the blackout variety, in order to block out the darkness of the landscape once the Winter sun had gone down. I often use a furry throw as a blanket on my sofa, using it to cuddle under whilst watching box sets of Sex and the City and Audrey Hepburn movies.

Mulled wine is too nice to just leave for Christmas, so I would have some Gluhwein in the cupboard, along with a host of spices. Roasted chestnuts and a wide selection of Liqueur chocolates would also be in place, as would a bottle of Bailey’s and some squirty cream to make the best hot chocolate ever.

Although Swiss Chalets can often be large and luxurious, I would prefer somewhere small and intimate, where I could enjoy reading lots of paperbacks and enjoying the stunning views sitting on a balcony drinking good coffee and eating Danish pastries. When you think of spending Winter like this, you can forget the cold and instead embrace the season on all its glory.

 

 

 

Travel Plans 2018 – Italy

One of the most noticeable things about Christmas is just how quickly the adverts change on the television. From being wall to wall toys and Santa, it is almost like, on the stroke of Midnight on Christmas Eve, Christmas is actually forgotten and the commercial breaks become one long travelogue. Sandy beaches, tropical skies and far away climes are the order of the day, as we escape the cold, wind and rain and dream about the Summer.

One of the most popular of European destinations is Italy, which is a perfect combination of culture, shopping, chic resorts and sandy beaches. It has food to die for, scenery that inspires awe and a history that is full and fascinating. Italy appeals because it has a holiday for everyone, whether you want to sip Aperol Spritz on the Neapolitan Riviera, walk around the Uffizi looking at priceless works of art, and just want to relax and top up your tan in Lido de Jeselo.

But Italy is not just about sunshine and beaches. It is a popular resort for skiing with both the iconic Dolomites and the scenic Italian Alps proving to be perfect for cross-country skiing and snow boarding. Snow shoeing is another popular pastime, and if you are a novice, you can sign up to skills weeks that can improve your performance in Winter sports.

If you decide to travel to Italy, you don’t have to limit your destination to just the mainland, or the obvious sites of Rome, Venice and Milan. One of my favourite Italian destinations is the island of Sardinia. The beautiful historic port of Alghero is a great favourite on the cruise ship circuit, and features a host of wonderful sites that range from an idyllic, long sandy shoreline, to the walled Old Town with its fascinating range of artisan and craft shops. There are a range of great restaurants that offer both indoor and outdoor dining arrangements, but for me one of the best ways to dine is to eat the huge and delicious, traditional stonebaked pizzas in the town square like the locals do.

Italy is a stunning destination for a romantic break or honeymoon. The Amalfi coast is simply stunning, a UNESCO world heritage site that has views that will simply take the breath away. Visitors to the Amalfi coast often take in a trip to the numerous vineyards and Olive Groves to get a feel for the real Italy, and what makes it such a fantastic, exquisite destination.